Croatia: Shameless Display Of Government Insolence!

Croatian government officials at Social Democrats conference Saturday 22 February 2014 Photo: Marko Prpic/Pixsell

Croatian government officials at
Social Democrats conference
Saturday 22 February 2014
Photo: Marko Prpic/Pixsell

Croatia’s ruling Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Saturday 22 February held its reporting conference under the slogan “Order, work and growth”, with party leader and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic saying in his introductory speech that the party did not have it easy in the past year and a half, having to deal with the economic crisis as well as defend itself from intolerance.
He said, with a bitter almost intolerant and threatening frown, that they had been exposed to frequent attacks during their time in government, that these attacks had at times been too harsh, i.e. uncivilised. To the question he asked himself: are we satisfied with what we have done during the past two years, he replied yes and no!

“It was difficult in the past year a half since the SDP’s last conference, we had to fight with consequences of the global and European crises and with what we had inherited, as well as actively defend ourselves from outbursts of intolerance in Croatia,” said Milanovic.
It’s evident that Milanovic and his government label criticism of government’s work and representations in public as “intolerance”!
It’s evident that normal, expected and acceptable democratic processes such as criticsing the government, calling its actions to account … are still things this pro-communist government would like to quash! It’s so often that we come across threatening and bitter reactions from this government when they are criticised. It’s a given that no government in the world likes to be criticised but in a normal democracy its reactions to criticism are more often calm and constructive; one doesn’t need to feel fear from reprisals.
In Croatia, I have it from reliable sources the streets are filled with people scared to say anything about the government in fear of reprisals and retaliation such as their job being in jeopardy etc.  While accepting that fear of retaliation is a worldwide phenomenon they say that it is amplified in Croatia and that it’s now like it was during the days of communist oppression.
It’s easy to believe them when one sees how the government looks upon and reacts to criticisms!
An example of this government’s appalling, insolent, behaviour can also be seen in the fact that at this very conference the local member for Sisak-Moslavina county, Marina Lovric Merzel, recently reported to authorities for suspected misappropriation of public funds and fraud / which is under investigation by the crime squad – was seated among the Ministers and other most high officers of the state! On the other hand, the woman who publicly uncovered and reported the alleged misappropriation and fraud, Jasmina Jovev – lost her job in that local government office as a result of her blowing the whistle!

Marina Lovric Merzel gets to sit next to education minister Zeljko Jovanovic while crime unit investigates allegations of fraud and misappropriation of public funds at Local government level and the person who made the complaint of alleged criminal behaviour is booted out of the local government office /sacked!  Photo:Pixsell

Marina Lovric Merzel gets to sit next to
education minister Zeljko Jovanovic while
crime unit investigates allegations of fraud
and misappropriation of public funds at
Local government level and the person
who made the complaint of alleged
criminal behaviour is booted out of the
local government office /sacked!

This is obscene behaviour by the government, efforts to demonstrate its power and by this gesture it undoubtedly ridicules those who report suspected fraud and misappropriation of public funds! While Lovric Merzel has the right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty this move by the Social Democrats to flaunt her at major events like this one is beneath contempt and demonstrates no regard for how the person who lodged the complaint of suspected fraud might be feeling now that she is on the bread-line with a small child.
I hope the attacks on this government get even stronger because such behaviour is offensive to human nature, to human decency!
“The Croatian Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime attached to the State Attorney General’s Office (USKOK) has established a track record of proactive investigations and successful prosecutions including in notable cases concerning high level elected and appointed officials,” said the European Commission’s EU Anti-corruption Report of February 2014 and it’s to be noted that the former (Croatian Democratic Government (HDZ) was instrumental in this, while the current government continued with the trend, although evidently not with the same resolve.

One simply does not invite a suspected fraudster to sit among government officials as some guest with unchallenged honour!

The biggest problem with corruption in Croatia (and other states of former Yugoslavia) is not in the corruption of those at the top of the government or former government or large state firms, the biggest problem is the corruption at local government levels! Corruption on local scale is enormous and has been throughout former Yugoslavia. It is these individuals who have amassed enormous wealth throughout the years that must come to answer and account. And then, only then, will there be real positive results in stamping out most of the corruption because having a local personality behind bars and their property confiscated if corruption proven has a much bigger effect on developing honesty than if a former Prime Minister or some high-level state official are convicted of corruption.

Without tackling corruption at local level nothing of lasting note will be achieved. Indeed the EC Report on EU Anti-corruption sees this as well.

It’s only half way through the current government’s mandate and it’s already in the election campaign for another one! “Give us another four years and you will then see results, and if there are no results even then, then they’ll be there in eight years time after that, said on Saturday maritime affairs, transport and infrastructure minister Sinisa Hajdas-Doncic! “This government is paying the wages of the disorderly leadership of the state, but we did not take that as an excuse but pushed ahead with the job,” Hajdas-Doncic continued.

Sadly, this government still hasn’t caught up with the fact that they are there for the people and not vice-versa; they still live it seems in the communist power days of yesteryear.

No, minister Hajdas-Doncic, the people are paying the wages! The critical number of unemployed, the growing queues at community soup kitchens’ doors, the growing number of the homeless, the distressingly climbing numbers of the poor, the strong presence of corruption at local levels and nepotism, the growing numbers of the destitute … all this and more is what is paying the wages of the government’s (whether former or current) inability to tackle the despair found there where it counts: at the kitchen table! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. John Ivica Lovakovic says:

    What to do ? Do our people need to rise up as they have in the Ukraine. Why are we putting up with such corruption isn’t this why we got our freedom. To be rid of the shonks in charge of our country . How much are we willing to put up with this.Are we so scared of them that we let them keep on doing this to our people. So noting has changed back home all they did was say we’re not Communism any more we are going to change it all for a independent Croatia where we are all treated the same laws as free citizens in front of God.

    • I get really angry and so deeply disappointed John Ivica Lovakovic particularly at seeing that nothing is being done to pursue local corruption and stamp out the local “sheriffs” who still as in communism walk the streets as if nothing and no one can touch them, who have amassed riches far beyond what their salaries or family wealth give way to.

  2. What to do ? My message to Croatian right wing: “It doesn’t matter if you drive, fly, sail, run, or pedal. As long as you enjoy the movement and go forward”. Thanks.

  3. What a sad state of affairs – the Government is completely disenfranchised from the people (and reality) and the HDZ Opposition under Karamarko are ineffective. Croatia needs a new generation of leaders – while perhaps not popular with Croatians in Croatia, the diaspora can play an important role in Croatian politics and economic management. I particularly have a contempt for Milanovic simply because as a relatively young man with a good education who has experienced life outside of Yugo/Cro he had the ingredients to be a good leader with vision, and passion for Croatia. But he is just a blood sucking leech communist; a bureaucratic in the worst form because he is an obstacle. The path to economic growth and vitality has been proven time and again. It is not about rigged privatization or socialization; it’s about less government, less taxes, and more rewarding individual merit and innovation; it’s about setting people free and not enslaving them as dependents of s system.

    • It is a great deal about “rewarding individual merit and innovation” Sunman I agree and that’s why they need start tackling the corruption, nepotism etc at local government levels because the State level movements are :far from the eye and heart”of local people who make up majority. It does disappoint that political leadership is scarce in Croatia and it does disappoint that many there who can make a difference would rather see the country go down than to admit they don’t know it all and turn to diaspora or outside Croatia for some serious consultants…

    • therealamericro says:

      Their “Plan 21” was not authored by them, but by a PR firm.

      They have not fulfilled a single promise.

      Karamarko has been on fire in the media and is hitting all the right issues (forcing national interest), and I hope a broad patriotic coalition will survive the elections and unite the center, center-right and right wing will not cancel each other out and allow for another neoyugoslav Western controlled puppet regime that does everything to subvert national interest and to sell the country out to neoliberal capitalist multinational corporations.

  4. Michael Silovic says:

    Change can only come from the people. It is true there is still much fear of goverment in Croatia regardless of what party is in charge because life is still pretty much unchanged with the mentality that if you challenge the goverment you will and can have problems. It is much easier to change at the top level of goverment then it is local goverment because as a whole country we stand united as to where it is local there is a greater division because of local politics and the relationship with the local governments as it is anywhere. Sadly on the local level it takes a lot of time to change it all because people do not know what the outcome would be. This is why I have always complained that the diaspora needs to come home and the process has to change to make it faster because those of us in the diaspora are not afraid and have more contacts with the outside world then the average Croat and can force more change with out fear of penalty. The goverment knows this and that is why they make it difficult for us to come back home. If Croats really want to make a change they must stand up to goverment and not be fearful of the consequences but also must be able to have support of others in the community that will help them if they loose their jobs or any other issues because of their involvement in politics.Corruption in goverment happens everywhere and it is more profound in the local levels even in places like the United States but people stand up for what is right. Every elected official in any country should be questioned as to how they gotten their wealth even as a candidate because once they get in office they become arrogant. I get harassed in the united states and abroad for my questions and articles I write on occasion. I have been censored by Facebook, yahoo, Google and several other international blogs I have written on including Croatian newspapers but I will never ever give up defending our people and country. We really need the diaspora to come home and run for office and clean house. The way to do this is beyond me at this point. If I had gotten clearance to go home I would be the first to run for office. Funny thing last time I got back home to get some documents I was told because of my ideals and attitudes I might not ever get my final papers. To my reply I said it would never stop me from being a proud Croat and I will continue to fight for change as long as I breathe.The diaspora needs to start a Political action committee , raise funds and support people who are willing to make a change. We are much stronger position to make change then those inside especially in the smaller counties.On the national level they can whine all they like because they either make changes to improve life for the people or they have to go. In recent events around the world I think the national parties had a wake up call to act in the interest of the people or pay the consequences….~ Za Dom Spremni ~

    • If censoring is for a good cause then bring it on I say Michael Silovic! If you or anyone is censored on these matters that flow politically then that means YOU’VE HIT A NERVE there where it counts and even if hitting that nerve brings no immediate desired effects it has been hit and it will remember – yes I agree some radical changes in all political parties that have dabbled in governing Croatia since the war in one way or another or being in opposition. I guess so much hard baggage (corruption, thieving, etc) was brought out of Yugoslavia that it seems quite impossible to deal with it but it’s not, it’s simple – firmness is needed

    • So true – people have the government that they deserve. How many people sit in cafes and complain about how bad things are but do nothing to bring change. It is like Croatian people LIKE being victims.

      As for the Diaspora – all the conservative parties talk about how important the Diaspora is – but I have been watching now for almost 5 years and NOONE is doing anything concrete to get Diaspora involvement. They do not care about ideas – they just care about how much money they can get.

      “Znamo sto trebamo raditi – samo trebamo novac”

  5. therealamericro says:

    Useless incompetants.

    I would rather have the late night drunks that are hanging out on Dolac at 4am every morning in Sabor than the current mafia.

    At least they would have interesting debates and discussions, and likely show up to work every day for the cheap booze and food.

    These clowns are collecting Sabor pay while absent the vast majority of their time, while on various government corporation boards (collecting those salaries), with some also, in addition to being in Sabor and on sometimes a dozen corporate boards, moonlighting as mayors and fiefdom, ahem, county heads.

    Its a shame that the same movement (and infrastructure) that pushed the referendum on marriage are not pushing:

    a) Lustration referendum modeling that of (Eastern) Germany and Poland verbatum;
    b) Changing the election law from voting from parties to voting for CANDIDATES who can be held accountable as individuals every election cycle
    c) Passing a law that forbids anyone from serving in local or county government AND Parliament; in addition to forbidding anyone in parliament from being on any corporate or government corporation boards as that is a conflict of interest.

    No changes in Croatia until these two changes are forced through.

    • And the government minister says they are paying the wages, therealamericro! I agree useless and selfish totally – and they’re not likely to want to give up they comforts ao your suggestions of things that must occur would certainly get rid of much garbage that’s polluting the Croatian “in the service of the public” scene.

    • Great ideas, especially voting for the individual and not the party.

    • I wish this would happen, but i doubt it, in all honesty from what i have met with this Croatian generation, my generation they are nothing but simpletons and will follow any party that claims to be liberal without doing any research on the parties and their members, how do you think a bunch of wash up Yugoslavian die-hards were able to get elected into Sabor like this, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these people, want to only profit from us like they did in Yugoslavia, and the worst thing about this is that i honestly think that they are going to get re-elected in the upcoming election by my generation. what also bugs me is where is the kids from the diaspora too did they give up on our generation of Croats too.

    • therealamericro says:

      Sorry, three changes.

      And the reference to the 4am drunks on Dolac was to myself and my friends.

  6. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.

  7. Miso Sorbel says:

    The reporting of any errors, suspected misappropriation, fraud, improper dealings etc must be improved if getting rid of corruption is going to be successful; the prospect of losing a job in that atmosphere of severe lack of jobs is terrifying, the fear of retribution is terrifying… this government it seems does bugger all to protect the right of complaints that democracy guarantees regards of the outcome of those complaints. That WOMAN Marina had recently had to swap the gov luxury car she thought she deserves, Heck the whole government had to go more humbly with types of cars purchased in the government fleet – they lap up luxury that they cannot afford and have the gall to say “we are paying the wages”of former mistakes – how perverse!

    • Yes Miso Sorbel they now have a bit more humble cars except for the PM etc – so something is shifting among that lot who like to show off the luxury and glitter they can”t afford

  8. This government is barely midstream of its first mandate and they’re already asking for a second, third…hehehehe, must be getting worried!

  9. Mercole Veto says:

    That Marina Lovric Merzel should have been suspended from duties (on pay) while investigations into the serious complaint are completed. This way she and he government friends are laughing at those who made the complaint and those around them and people at large really.

    • Totally agree Mercole Veto. They don’t seem to have such decent procedures when it comes to complaints and complaint investigation processes…

  10. The incompetence will continue until there is a competent alternative. Unfortunately at this point in time there is no competent alternative.

    Maybe the Diaspora should just ignore trying to work with the local “political hobbyists” and set up its own political party and bring together the best minds from around the world and collaborate to develop a solution for a better future.

    • What bugs me a great deal, Zeljko, is since they can’t fix the economy to a better mark (and I accept that it’s not easy anywhere at this point in time)why can’t they work harder at things that can be changed: corruption at local gov levels and other similar things of procedural matters such as accountability? Such things would I am certain lead to more positive outlooks and an optimistic psyche among the people. They also need to work on accepting the fact that they cannot do everything and reach out for professional help outside borders.

  11. Hello ! 🙂

  12. Croatia is like an onion. I peel layers and learn more and more. Hugs, Barbara

  13. Its a tragedy to have in power those who are brilliant speakers but no true action all they have is rhetoric .Always blame the others but never themselves.JMS

    • It’s like that everywhere it seems, Jalal, but thankfully people are becoming wiser up and things will change on that front… unemployment, hunger, lack of future prospects on the horizon for individuals…can do amazing things

      • Sad thing about that is that my country, The United States, is mostly responsible for the global downturn. While China pulled an amazing amount of peasant farmers – millions – out of poverty, we’ve turned that backward.
        Don’t get me wrong, it’s no that I think the US is any more corrupt than most other countries– *but* when a country is as powerful and influential as the US is, it has a much greater moral responsibility to uphold decent moral standards. And it isn’t. Greed and corruption on Wall Street and in major corporations is the biggest problems.
        For one thing, corporations have no country. I know you are religious, so I can say that I really believe that if there is an anti-Christ it is the corporation, an artificial person with all the legal rights of a real person – but without the accountability of a real person. AND it lives forever. Even if one goes bankrupt, it can assume the identity of a new host. That happened recently in the US when a chemical company contaminated the water supply of millions of Americans. The very next day, the country was “bankrupt” but the owner had all the assets moved to another corporation without missing a beat. Horrible.
        Almost makes me want to sharpen up the ol’ guillotine.

      • Behind an “artificial person” stands a real one – always, Donald Miller. And yes I too believe that “anti-Christ” is the corporation but it wouldn’t be here without the various anti-Christs that keep it on life-support and empty its pockets into their own. Indeed, corruption is everywhere, the difference though would seem to be in the measures taken once discovered

  14. I must say it is good to see this post. For a while, I was sort of thinking to myself, “Doesn’t my friend, Ina, think there is anything at all wrong in Croatia?” The reason for that was the angry response to Bob Dylan and all of the postings seemed very favorable and positive. We Americans have become jaded I guess, but when someone gets threatened with jail time for speaking their mind, I immediately begin thinking, “What are they [those who want to incarcerate the outspoken person] hiding?” As you know we have a world-class propaganda system to contend with in our “free press.” So we’ve become skeptical as Arabs, almost.
    This article and a couple of others lets me know that, unfortunately, you have some of the same problems that we Americans have. I went and read Barry Lituchy’s article, and while the headline was disgusting, I couldn’t find anything to disagree with him about over US foreign policy or Brown, the Secretary of Commerce.
    Lots of discontent beginning to rise in the US. We’ve come to realize that Putin, for instance, is better than our own leaders, despite all the ceaseless propaganda against him. I placed a Google comment of mine up and I was surprised by how every American agreed with me. In short, that if Russia decides to go with someone besides Putin, we could use him in the US. What a heck of a mess our government is! 7% positive approval rating for our congress. 🙁

    • Plenty wrong in Croatia, Donald Miller – it ain’t immune to sins of human politicians and so we battle on for a world that will at least allow most people to sleep at night knowing that possibilities for a better future for personal existence and well-being does exist

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  1. […] mass sackings of people and replacing them with the politically ideal ones who are loyal to SDP and Marina Lovric Merzel, the SDP prefect of the Sisak-Moslavina county in central Croatia, is currently under investigation […]

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